An exciting opening round will most likely lead to more of the same in the conference semi-finals. I’ll recap my earlier picks and predict the next round.

Before the beginning of the playoffs I made my first-round predictions for the Eastern Conference, and they turned out surprisingly well. Here were my picks:

#1 New York Rangers vs. #8 Ottawa Senators

Prediction: Rangers in 6
Reality: Rangers in 7. Close enough.

#2 Boston Bruins vs. #7 Washington Capitals

Prediction: Capitals in 6.
Reality: Capitals in 7. Again, close enough.

#3 Florida Panthers vs. #6 New Jersey Devils

Prediction: Panthers in 7
Reality: Devils in 7.

#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs #5 Philadelphia Flyers
Prediction: Flyers in 6.
Reality: Flyers in 6. Nailed it.

I consider 3 out of 4 to be pretty good. Heck, if we were playing baseball, 1 for 4 would be respectable. So, onto the next round. In the East, we have matchups between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals as well as the Philadelphia Flyers and the New Jersey Devils.

In the west, we the have the unlikely matchup of the Phoenix Coyotes and the Nashville Predators as well as the St. Louis Blues and the L.A. Kings. Again, I’ll give my predictions for the Eastern Conference:

#1 New York Rangers vs #7 Washington Capitals

The Rangers won their first-round matchup with Ottawa like they were supposed to, but looked less than impressive in doing so. Washington barely slipped by what seemed to be a Bruins team that was stuck in hibernation. If Washington’s goalie, Holtby, plays like he did in the first round they can win the series. I just don’t think that will happen against this experienced New York team.

Prediction: Rangers in 6

#5 Philadelphia Flyers vs #6 New Jersey Devils

Philadelphia looked as impressive as anyone in the first round, and are now likely considered to be one of the favorites to win the cup. The only question mark is their goaltending, and it’s a big question mark. Fortunately for them, they have the offensive firepower in Giroux and co. to make up for it. New Jersey is a difficult team to classify. They have talent offensively, yet they do not score a ton of goals. They have one of the best goaltenders of all time, Brodeur, yet he has struggled at times during the season and playoffs. I can’t pick against the Flyers. I’ll admit that even though I am a diehard Sabres fan, I find myself rooting for Philadelphia to win; they have everything you’d want as a fan, skill, toughness, and passion.

Prediction: Philadelphia in 5

The second round begins tonight, enjoy!